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NIH Awards $185M to 25 Teams Studying Genomic Variation, Function

NEW YORK — The National Institutes of Health said on Thursday that it has committed roughly $185 million over the next five years to fund an initiative investigating how genomic variation alters human genome function and affects health and disease.

NIH is providing the funding through 25 grants awarded to investigators at 30 sites across the US that will tackle different aspects of the consortium: functional characterization, regulatory networks, mapping, predictive modeling, and data and administrative coordination.

Key goals of the project — called the Genomic Variation on Function (IGVF) consortium — include the systematic perturbation of the genome to assess the impact of genomic variation on genome function and phenotype; the high-resolution identification of where and when genes and regulatory elements function; and the advancement of network-level understanding of the influence of genetic variation and genome function on phenotype.

The IGVF is also tasked with developing and testing innovative predictive models of the impact of genomic variation on genome function, generating a resource around a catalog of variant impacts, and supporting the use of these approaches by the wider scientific community.

"Biomedical researchers have recently made remarkable advances in the experimental and computational methods available for elucidating genome function," Carolyn Hutter, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute's division of genome sciences, said in a statement. "The IGVF consortium will include world leaders in these areas, and together they will leverage these advances to tackle an incredibly challenging and important series of questions related to how genomic variation influences biological function."